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So YOu want to be an ironman?

WRITTEN BY John Paul Severin 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. Intimidating is an understatement. In fact, it sounds downright ridiculous. The Ironman Triathlon started as a testosterone (and probably booze) driven conversation between swimmers and runners – standard trash talking about who was the best. Sports Illustrated had just claimed that a cyclist had the world’s best endurance engine, so cycling was in the mix. So, the question became, who were the best athletes and how could they prove it? The Ironman was the brainchild of these slightly sadistic individuals.

Intimidating is an understatement. In fact, it sounds downright ridiculous.

Photography by Charlie Woodcock building continuously and stretching my comfort zone on occasion. The nuts and bolts of training are startlingly simple: three swims, four bike rides and four runs a week. The key is hitting one long day each week where you ride long and run long right after, sort of like a race “dress-rehearsal.” I had a year to train and a lot can be done in a year. So, you want to be an Ironman? There are always excuses not to do something. I’ve heard it all: “I don’t have enough time.”

So, the question is, can you do it? The answer is not just yes, but a resounding yes! You would be surprised at how accessible and reasonable the sport is once you get rolling. It’s no coincidence that it is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and, suddenly, your fat aunt and 60-year-old co-worker are buying road bikes. Everyone can do it. I am currently training for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. It will be my third Ironman. Although I’ve been racing for about five years, I started out as a chubby kid addicted to gummy worms, running two miles a day in the middle of the night so that no one would see how slow I was. Gradually, the momentum built and the distances became easier and then longer. Four years after I started running, I signed up for the 2008 Ironman Wisconsin. I was so nervous that I developed a bit of a tremor.

“I can’t run to the end of the block without stopping.” “I could never do that.” I was in the same boat. All I’m saying is that you’d be surprised how much time you can find when you really commit to something. You’d be surprised how little talent has to do with it. You’d be surprised at how far you can actually go. I was.

Reality set in and the hard work started. Make no mistake, it is not a joke and you shouldn’t turn up as casually as you would to an Old Country Buffet. Basically, it was about taking it slow,

John Paul Severin is an All-American triathlete based out of Calabasas, California. You can read about his exploits at or catch his column at

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Fusion Magazine  

The Voice of the Valley

Fusion Magazine  

The Voice of the Valley